SYNOPSIS
Wicked the Musical

SYNOPSIS



Act I

The musical begins with the citizens of Oz celebrating the death of the Wicked Witch of the West. Glinda descends from the sky and begins to tell the story of the Witch's (Elphaba's) life to the people of Oz below ("No-one Mourns the Wicked").

It is implied that Elphaba suffered an unhappy childhood, facing discrimination from Ozians because of her skin color and being raised only by the widowed Frex, who considers her to be an embarrassment (not only because of her appearance, but because strange things seem to happen when she is around). Her mother Melena had subsequently given birth to another girl named Nessarose, who was born disabled, and who is adored by Frex. When the time comes for Nessarose to attend university, Frex sends Elphaba along with her, but only so that she can take care of the wheelchair-bound Nessarose, which she has apparently been doing all her life. As a parting gift, Frex presents Nessarose with a pair of jewelled slippers.

At Shiz University, Elphaba meets Galinda, a spoiled and popular girl from the Upper Uplands ("Dear Old Shiz"). Madame Morrible, the headmistress at Shiz, has decided that since Nessarose has a special condition, it would be best for her to share Morrible's private accommodations. No arrangements have been made for Elphaba, and Galinda accidentally offers to share her private suite. Elphaba, however, has concerns about leaving her younger sister in the care of another. For all Elphaba knows, Frex might reprimand her for allowing it. When Morrible tries to wheel Nessarose away, Elphaba uses her uncontrollable, supernatural powers to bring her sister back to her. The sisters are chagrined by the happenings, for both girls want nothing more than to live normal lives like everyone else. Morrible is most impressed, and notes that Elphaba's apparent knack for magic may be of use to the Wizard of Oz, and promises to give Elphaba private sorcery lessons. Elphaba believes that she may well be on her way to becoming a celebrity in Oz, if she is given the chance to work alongside the revered Wizard. She dreams of all the glamour and the glory that she had thought impossible up until now by dint of her skin color ("The Wizard and I").

Galinda, not offered a place in Morrible's highly acclaimed Sorcery Seminar, is jealous and takes an immediate loathing to Elphaba. The green-skinned girl takes a similar dislike to the shallow Galinda. Both girls blow this mutual dislike into epic proportions, in keeping with their age, goaded on by their fellow students at Shiz, who of course dramatically side with Galinda against Elphaba ("What is this Feeling?").

A few days later, Doctor Dillamond, a Goat who is at that time Shiz's only Animal[note 1] professor, is attempting to teach History. He finds a nasty, discriminatory slogan on the back of his blackboard,= stating that "Animals should be seen and not heard." He has problems pronouncing Galinda's name correctly, calling her "Glinda". Galinda repeatedly insists that Doctor Dillamond pronounce the "ga" sound. After dismissing the class, the clearly troubled professor confides in Elphaba that something is causing the Animals of Oz to lose their powers of speech ("Something Bad"). Elphaba is sure that the Wizard of Oz could fix this crisis, if only someone ventured to bring it to his attention. "After all," Elphaba says, "that's why we have a Wizard."

Soon afterwards, Fiyero, a prince from the Vinkus with a "scandalacious" reputation, arrives at Shiz and immediately impresses his own brand of cavalier, carefree living on the students, organizing a party at the Ozdust Ballroom. Fiyero and Galinda are instantly drawn to each other, mostly due to their same superficial values ("Dancing through Life"). While preparing for the party, Galinda receives a "hideoedious" black pointed hat from her grandmother. Knowing that the hat is ugly, she gives it to Elphaba in the guise of a present. A middle-class Munchkin boy named Boq who is infatuated with Galinda pursues her, living under the delusion that Galinda will eventually reciprocate. Galinda tries to trick him into inviting the "tragically beautiful" but wheelchair-ridden Nessarose to the party. Nessarose, who has never been asked out by a boy before, is excited and asks Elphaba if there is any way to repay what she perceives as Galinda's thoughtfulness and kindness. Thus, at the dance, Galinda is surprised by the appearance of Morrible, who gives her a training wand and tells her that Elphaba insisted she be included in the Sorcery Seminar (although Morrible herself has no faith in Galinda's aptitude for sorcery). Galinda is stunned and begins to feel remorse for her treatment of Elphaba, who has given her the chance she hoped for to study magic. At the same exact time, Nessarose is convinced that she has been given the "chance" that she has hoped for to be romantically involved with a nice Munchkin boy. Boq insists that he asked her out because he is attracted to her, and not because he "felt sorry" for her condition. Unbeknownst to Nessarose, however, Boq is only continuing the charade to score points with Galinda, whom he intends to lure away from Fiyero, little realizing that the overly sentimental Nessarose is already falling in love with him.

Elphaba arrives at the Ozdust Ballroom wearing the hat Galinda had given her, only to be ridiculed. Guilt-ridden, Galinda joins Elphaba on the dance floor, paving the way for a new friendship between the two. Soon, everyone in attendance at the party joins in, following Galinda's lead. Fiyero remarks that Elphaba certainly "has guts".

After the party, Galinda and Elphaba return to their suite at Shiz and engage in girl talk. Elphaba reveals that Frex hates her most of all. Because he had forced Melena to eat milk flowers to prevent Nessarose from being born with the same green skin, the flowers caused Nessarose to be born early, crippling her, and causing Melena's premature death. Frex believes that none of this would have happened if it weren't for Elphaba's birth. Moved by a desire to raise her new friend's spirits, and determined to make up for her past behavior, Galinda decides to give Elphaba a makeover. Galinda essentially "Galinda-fies" Elphaba ("Popular").

In the next scene, evil Ozian officials take Doctor Dillamond away from Shiz. The new History teacher arrives with a frightened Lion cub in a cage, revealing that animals that are kept in cages will never become Animals. Outraged, Elphaba casts a spell that causes everyone except for Fiyero to go into involuntary gyrations. Together, Elphaba and Fiyero steal the cub and set it free in the woods. The audience now sees that the two are attracted to each other in spite of themselves. Fiyero in particular is taken completely off-guard by his romantic feelings for Elphaba, and hastily exits in embarrassment. It begins raining, and Elphaba takes refuge under a bridge, bemoaning the fact that it would be impossible for someone like Fiyero to love someone like her ("I'm Not That Girl"). She resigns herself to the fact that she could never be what her new friend Galinda is. Despite being friends, there is no denying the fact that they both love the prince. Madame Morrible finds Elphaba soon after, and announces that she has been granted an audience with the Wizard, which more than changes Elphaba's dampened disposition ("The Wizard and I - Reprise"). At this point, it is revealed that Morrible's specialty happens to be control over the weather, as she turns the pouring rain into sunshine, insisting that Elphaba shouldn't get wet.

The scene shifts to a railway station, where Elphaba is about to head off to the Emerald City. Galinda and Nessarose are very excited for her, and Nessarose goes so far as to say that Frex will be very proud of her for having been deemed fit to meet the Wizard of Oz personally. When Elphaba inquires as to whether her younger sister will be able to manage without her, Galinda giggles that she needn't worry because Boq will be there. Although Boq is right by Nessarose's side at this point, Galinda's comment forces him to realize that he cannot carry on with the charade any longer, and he starts to exit. A guilty Galinda tries to rectify the situation by suggesting that perhaps Boq isn't the right one for the younger Miss Thropp, while Nessarose insists that it's she herself who is "not right" and wheels herself off the stage, trying to convince both Elphaba and herself that she will be all right and that she'll manage somehow. Elphaba feels bad and calls after her younger sister, but Galinda advises Elphaba to "let her go". Galinda proceeds to complain to Elphaba that Fiyero's affections toward her seem to be waning. She is also worried because he has been "thinking" a lot as of late. Fiyero arrives with flowers for Elphaba, wishing her good luck in the Emerald City. Telling her that he has been "thinking," and it's clear that all he's been "thinking" of is the day he and Elphaba worked together to free the Lion cub and that he cannot ignore his attraction to her. In an attempt to impress him, Galinda announces that "I will no longer be known as Galinda, but simply as Glinda", ostensibly in honor of Doctor Dillamond's persistent mispronunciation. He makes another hasty exit, barely even noticing Galinda's name change, leaving Galinda-turned-Glinda even more upset. Feeling bad for Glinda, and perhaps even guilty for secretly coveting her boyfriend, Elphaba invites her friend to come with her "to the Emerald City", which Glinda is only too eager to do, and not just because she has "always wanted to see" the capital of Oz herself.

After a day in the Emerald City ("One Short Day"), Elphaba and Glinda meet the Wizard. He immediately reveals his true self to them and invites Elphaba to join him as his personal assistant ("A Sentimental Man"). As a test of her talent for magic, he asks that she give his Monkey servant, Chistery, the ability to fly using the Grimmerie, an ancient book of spells. Elphaba demonstrates her innate talent and successfully gives Chistery wings. The Wizard reveals an entire cage full of monkeys who now also have wings because of Elphaba's spell, and remarks that they will make good spies to report any subversive Animal activity. Realizing that she has been used and that the Wizard is not a wizard, with no magical power of his own, Elphaba runs away with the Grimmerie, pursued by the palace guards. The Grimmerie is an ancient book of magic no one has been able to read.. until now.

Elphaba and Glinda run into the tallest tower, where they witness Morrible, now the Wizard's press secretary, declaring to all of Oz that Elphaba is a "Wicked Witch" who is not to be trusted. Elphaba enchants a broomstick to levitate and tries to convince Glinda to join her in her cause, but Glinda refuses. Elphaba briefly disappears, and the guards of Oz burst through the door, attempting to capture Glinda. Elphaba suddenly appears, quite enraged. Leaving behind the only friend she ever had, Elphaba rises into the sky holding the broomstick, promising to fight the Wizard with all of her power ("Defying Gravity").




Act II


Some time has passed, and Elphaba's exploits have earned her the title of Wicked Witch of the West ("No One Mourns the Wicked - Reprise"). Glinda and Madame Morrible hold a press conference to announce Glinda's surprise engagement to Fiyero, and to recall the story of how Glinda got the title "Glinda the Good." Glinda knows that with all of the things she has, that she should be happy, but she hesitates when singing about how happy she is "though it is I admit, the tiniest bit, unlike I anticipated..." Fiyero becomes annoyed at the Ozians's feelings towards the "Wicked Witch of the West," and has a polite-fight with Glinda, ending with "And if it will make you happy, of course, I'll marry you." Glinda asks if it will make him happy too, but his reply is cryptic. "You know me, I'm always happy." ("Thank Goodness").

Meanwhile, Elphaba arrives at the Governor's residence in Munchkinland, seeking refuge, and intending to ask Frex for help. However, Nessarose, now the Governor of Munchkinland, harshly reveals that their father "died of shame" due to Elphaba's actions at the Emerald City (implying that he may have committed suicide). Nessarose refuses to help hide a fugitive, citing her status as an unelected official, and criticizes Elphaba for not using magic to help Nessarose overcome her disability. To assuage her feelings of guilt, Elphaba enchants Nessarose's jeweled shoes, turning them from silver to ruby red and enabling her to walk. Nessarose summons Boq at once to show him she can walk, but when he sees this, he assumes that she no longer needs him, and reveals that a ball is being held for Glinda and Fiyero's engagement, and he must go "Appeal to [Glinda], express the way I feel to her." Furious, Nessarose casts a mispronounced spell from the Grimmerie on Boq, causing his heart to shrink. While Elphaba attempts to save him, Nessarose reflects on how her obsession with Boq has led her to oppress the Munchkin people ("The Wicked Witch of the East"). Elphaba saves Boq by turning him into the Tin Man – horrified, Nessarose lays the blame on Elphaba.

With nowhere else to turn, Elphaba returns to the Wizard's palace to free the rest of the winged monkeys. The Wizard attempts to regain her favor by agreeing to set them free ("Wonderful"). Upon discovering a Doctor Dillamond, now incapable of speech, among the monkeys, Elphaba rejects his offer and attempts to escape, running into Fiyero, now captain of the guard, in the process. Glinda rushes in to witness Fiyero running off with Elphaba and realizes that she has been betrayed by those closest to her as the Wizard offers her a drink from a little green bottle "It always makes me feel better." Glinda refuses the bottle and sings ("I'm Not That Girl - Reprise"). Glinda, hurt and furious by Elphaba's betrayal, suggests to Madame Morrible to spread a rumor that Nessarose is in danger, a surefire way to lure Elphaba into a trap. Madame Morrible agrees but, with support from the Wizard and unbeknownst to Glinda, decides a rumor will be insufficient, instead creating a "change in the weather" -- a cyclone to actually put Nessarose in danger.

In a dark forest, Fiyero and Elphaba express their mutual love ("As Long as You're Mine"), but are interrupted when Elphaba senses that her sister is in danger. Shortly after that, she sees a house flying through the sky, towards Munchkinland. She quickly flies off to help but is too late, arriving just after Dorothy's house has landed on Nessarose, killing her. Glinda has just told Dorothy to go off and see the wizard, and now grieves over Nessa. Elphaba becomes frustrated and confronts her for giving Nessarose's shoes to Dorothy, and a fight ensues. The palace guards arrive and ambush Elphaba, but Fiyero intervenes and tells them to "Let the green girl go!" allowing Elphaba to escape before surrendering himself. The guards take him to a nearby cornfield to be tortured until he tells them where Elphaba has fled. At one of Fiyero's castles, Elphaba tries to cast a spell to save Fiyero's life but, thinking she has failed, she begins to accept her notorious reputation as Wicked ("No Good Deed").

Meanwhile, the Tin Man (formerly Boq) and the citizens of Oz prepare a witch hunt, following Dorothy's beloved dog Toto ("March of the Witch Hunters"). Boq claims that Elphaba turned him into the Tin Man as an act of evil, while the Lion cub that Elphaba and Fiyero freed at Shiz is also at the gathering and turns out to be the Cowardly Lion. His cowardice is blamed on Elphaba, because "if she had let him fight his own battles when he was young, he wouldn't be a coward today." Seeing the witch-hunt, Glinda realizes that Madame Morrible was behind Nessarose's death. The sorceress reminds Glinda that this is what she wanted in the first place and tells her to "smile and wave and shut up!". Glinda travels to Elphaba and Fiyero's castle to persuade her to let Dorothy go ("Come on they are just SHOES! Let it go!"), but Elphaba refuses. When Chistery enters with a letter, Elphaba reads it and exclaims "We have seen his face for the last time." Glinda takes this to mean Fiyero, not knowing it is meant literally. Elphaba makes Glinda promise not to clear her name and to take charge in Oz and she gives Glinda the Grimmerie, saying "Now it's up to you." Glinda agrees, and the two confirm a true friendship ("For Good"). As the mob arrives at the castle, Elphaba tells Glinda to hide and she pulls a curtain across the stage. Glinda clasps the Grimmerie and watches helplessly as Dorothy throws a bucket of water on Elphaba, seemingly melting her. All Glinda is left with is Elphaba's pointed hat and the bottle of glowing green liquid.

Glinda storms into the Wizard's palace and shows him the green bottle: "I've seen only one other like it and it was in this room!" she exclaims, and it is revealed that the Wizard is actually Elphaba's father through an affair he had with Melena. Glinda orders the Wizard to leave Oz, and sends Morrible to prison, returning to the opening scene of the show. Glinda addresses the citizens of Oz, proclaiming that she would like to be "Glinda the Good" as she will reform the government. Meanwhile, one of Dorothy's companions, the Scarecrow, secretly returns to the castle and opens a trapdoor, revealing Elphaba is alive. The Scarecrow is revealed to be Fiyero, transformed by Elphaba's spell. They have faked Elphaba's death, which must be kept secret even from Glinda, to protect her. As Glinda mourns her friend's death and the citizens of Oz celebrate it, Elphaba and Fiyero leave Oz forever to begin a new life. ("Finale: Wicked").

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